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of author self-citations as opposed to journal self-citations (Hartley 2009 ). Such author self-citations contribute to the overall citation count of an article and to the impact factor of the journals in which they are cited (Anseel et al

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scientific policy-making. It is possible that author self-citations could be manipulated to raise the counts of citation, thus ensuring one's position in the scientific community. Numerous studies have indicated that only few research papers contain no self

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335 – 348 . GlÄnzel , W. Thijs , B. Schlemmer , B. 2004 A bibliometric approach to the role of author self-citations in

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phenomenon called author self-citation. An author makes self-citation (or self-reference) when he uses one of his previously published works as a reference in a new article. In multi-authored articles, a self-citation occurs whenever the set of co

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The present paper analyses the role of author self-citations aiming at finding basic regularities of self-citations within the process of documented scientific communication and thus laying the methodological groundwork for a possible critical view at self-citation patterns in empirical studies at any level of aggregation. The study consists of three parts; the first part of the study is concerned with the comparative analysis of the ageing of self-citations and of non-self citations, in the second part the possible interdependence between self-citations and foreign citations is analysed and in the third part the interrelation of the share of self-citations in all citations with other citation-based indicators is studied. The outcomes of this study are two-fold; first, the results characterise author self-citations - at least at the macro level - as an organic part of the citation process obeying rules that can be measured and described with the help of mathematical models. Second, these rules can be used in evaluative micro and meso analyses to identify significant deviations from the reference standards.

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Summary  

In earlier studies by the authors, basic regularities of author self-citations have been analysed. These regularities are related to the ageing, to the relation between self-citations and foreign citations, to the interdependence of self-citations with other bibliometric indicators and to the influence of co-authorship on self-citation behaviour. Although both national and subject specific peculiarities influence the share of self-citations at the macro level, the authors came to the conclusion that - at this level of aggregation - there is practically no need for excluding self-citations. The aim of the present study is to answer the question in how far the influence of author self-citations on bibliometric meso-indicators deviates from that at the macro level, and to what extent national reference standards can be used in bibliometric meso analyses. In order to study the situation at the institutional level, a selection of twelve European universities representing different countries and different research profiles have been made. The results show a quite complex situation at the meso-level, therefore we suggest the usage of both indicators, including and excluding self-citations.

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The discussion about how to treat author self-citations driven by policy application and quality measurement intensified in the last years. The definition introduced by Snyder and Bonzi has - in lack of any reasonable alternative - been used in bibliometric practice for science policy purposes. This method, however, does not take into account the weight of self-citing authors among co-authors of both the cited and citing papers. The objective of the present paper is to quantify the weight of self-citations with respect to co-authorship. The analysis is conducted at two levels: at the macro level, namely, for fifteen subject fields and the most active forty countries, and at the meso level, for a set of selected research institutions.

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Summary  

The objective of the present study is twofold: (1) to show the aims and means of quantitative interpretation of bibliographic features in bibliometrics and their re-interpretation in research policy, and (2) to summarise the state-of-art in self-citation research. The authors describe three approaches to the role of author self-citations and possible conflicts arising from the different perspectives. From the bibliometric viewpoint we can conclude that that there is no reason for condemning self-citations in general or for removing them from macro or meso statistics; supplementary indicators based on self-citations are, nonetheless, useful to understand communication patterns.

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Abstract  

This paper focuses on the study of self-citations at the meso and micro (individual) levels, on the basis of an analysis of the production (1994–2004) of individual researchers working at the Spanish CSIC in the areas of Biology and Biomedicine and Material Sciences. Two different types of self-citations are described: author self-citations (citations received from the author him/herself) and co-author self-citations (citations received from the researchers’ co-authors but without his/her participation). Self-citations do not play a decisive role in the high citation scores of documents either at the individual or at the meso level, which are mainly due to external citations. At micro-level, the percentage of self-citations does not change by professional rank or age, but differences in the relative weight of author and co-author self-citations have been found. The percentage of co-author self-citations tends to decrease with age and professional rank while the percentage of author self-citations shows the opposite trend. Suppressing author self-citations from citation counts to prevent overblown self-citation practices may result in a higher reduction of citation numbers of old scientists and, particularly, of those in the highest categories. Author and co-author self-citations provide valuable information on the scientific communication process, but external citations are the most relevant for evaluative purposes. As a final recommendation, studies considering self-citations at the individual level should make clear whether author or total self-citations are used as these can affect researchers differently.

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